Cal Men's & Women's Basketball Set To Play in SEC/ACC Challenge

The Bears' men will visit Missouri on Dec. 3, the women host Alabama on Dec. 5
Missouri coach Dennis Gates
Missouri coach Dennis Gates / Evert Nelson/The Capital-Journal / USA

The Cal men’s and women’s basketball teams will get their first taste of the SEC/ACC Challenge next December.

There is a lot of change coming for the Golden Bears, who will begin their first season in the Atlantic Coast Conference next fall. 

The Bears’ men will face Missouri on the road on Dec. 3 before the Cal women play host to Alabama on Dec. 5.

The men’s game will match coach Mark Madsen against former college rival Dennis Gates, now in his third season directing the Tigers. 

Madsen was a star forward at Stanford from 1996-97 through 1999-00 while Gates played guard for Cal from 1998-99 through 2001-02. They clashed four times during Madsen’s final two seasons and Gates’ first two, with Madsen averaging 14.0 points and 10.0 rebounds in four Stanford victories.

Gates was largely successful at Cal, graduating in three years and winning the 2002 Pac-10 Medal of Honor. He was a freshman on Cal's 1999 NIT championship team and was a team captain on the Bears' 2001 and 2002 NCAA tournament squads.

Madsen guided the Bears to a 13-19 record in his first season as coach last year, a 10-win improvement over Cal’s previous season.

Gates begins his third year at Mizzou, having led the Tigers to a 20-15 mark and an NCAA tournament bid in 2022-23 before falling to 8-24 last season.

Missouri owns a 5-2 all-time series lead over Cal but haven’t met since 2011.

Meanwhile, the Cal women, coming off a 19-15 campaign and a berth in the WBIT, will face an Alabama squad that was 24-10 and advanced to the second round of the NCAA tournament.

Cal and Alabama will square off for just the second time, with the Crimson Tide having beaten the Bears during the 2000-01 season. 

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Jeff Faraudo


Jeff Faraudo was a sports writer for Bay Area daily newspapers since he was 17 years old, and was the Oakland Tribune's Cal beat writer for 24 years. He covered eight Final Fours, four NBA Finals and four Summer Olympics.